It’s hard to maintain perspective when it comes to rookies. It’s not in most people’s nature to imagine what it would be like for that player to suck. How does one imagine sucking? Sitting on the bench? Turning the ball over? There aren’t any YouTube clips of young guys dribbling balls off their shin. Trust me. I YouTubed young+guys+balls+shin and got all sorts of heinous awfulness, but none of it was montages of poorly executed basketball.  It’s much easier to imagine the team’s newest player as all upside. Even then, things can get out of hand. Imagine if instead of desperately (and unsuccessfully) whoring himself out to the first far Eastern team that would have him, Andrei Kirilenko went to the Wizards this offseason. I imagine D.C. fans would be mildly excited to have a multi-tooled swing player with above-average defense and fashionable hair. You’d be a little bummed by his age and the knowledge that you’re not going to get the best version of AK47 in 2011-12, but most people would rather have him on their team coming off the bench than not. Well, subtract a little Kirilenko’s passable ball-handling and add a little bit of hops (for the drunks who brought their own barley), and you’ve essentially got Jan Vesely. So what does that mean for young Vesely in 2011 fantasy basketball?

Above all else, it should be noted that Vesely can fly, and at 6-foot-11 playing the three, there’s a good chance that he’s going Tom Chambers over someone before his rookie season is over. He’s gonna get a lot of dunks, John Wall is gonna hand him two fistfulls of assists, and the total time Vesely and JaVale McGee are going to spend with their faces above the rim will make  the dorks at Elias freak out. But – and like a Kardashian homecoming, we’re heavy on the butts here – the dude can’t dribble. He can pass, but he’s not creating his own shot. He gets most of his points off of breaks and broken plays, which might be a boon for a guy playing for the Wizards. I can see Vesely coming on later in the season like Greg Monroe or Anthony Randolph did last year. Ultimately, he’s a solid defender on a team that doesn’t have many solid defenders. (He’s going to have to help Lewis, Blatche and even McGee a lot on that end of the court. No, no … A. LOT.) He’s also going to get a ton of attention from Wall, who was better at placing passes on the fly than running set plays and hitting the open man. As Vesely moves well without the ball, that plays to both of their strengths – if you can call not being able to run set plays successfully a strength, which, in D.C. they do! Despite the guy’s terrible free throw shooting (46% in the Euroleague last year) I imagine Vesely will average 9/3/1, with 2.5 3ptm+stl+blk by year’s end, although his post All-Star Break stats should be far better (which tells you how the start of his season is gonna go). 

  1. I’m really not on the Vesely bandwagon at all. First off, he was already having some trouble guarding his own position as a SF at the Euroleague level – his athleticism is great, but he’s big and lateral quicks are so-so at best. I think he’ll really struggle to guard a lot of 3’s at the NBA level. If that’s the case his minutes are going into the crapper. Personally, I’d draft Singleton ahead of Vesely for the upcoming season (and I;d cal them a wash at best long-term). Singleton can guard three positions, maybe four, with high-end NBA-level defense. That’s going to earn him some minutes, minutes I expect to come at Vesely’s expense. Singleton can also rebound really well for a SF, and Vesley doesn’t even rebound that well for a Euro SF. Just sayin’.

    Anyway, it’s all very IMO of course, but I have Vesely tabbed as one of this draft class’s big busts. Unless your league counts immensely tall, hot, girlfriends as a category. Then Vesely is cash money.

  2. Adam

    Adam says:

    @Fenris-77: I don’t know how much of a bust one has to be when the entire rookie class itself is considered underwhelming. I’d be surprised if more than six of these guys get drafted in the first 150 picks. I’m not on Vesely’s bandwagon either, though I give him more defensive credit than it sounds like you do. Leonsis digs his uber-athletic guys. My guess is this is what he sees in Vesely. He, like McGee, has the ability to jump out of the gym – whether or not he’ll even get the opportunity is another matter entirely.

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